Skip to content

First Kiss

November 28, 2009

Today I announced on Facebook that any question asked of me during the next 24 hours would be answered honestly, no matter what the question was. Although the period of unrestrained honesty doesn’t start until 8 a.m. tomorrow, a question arrived in my inbox which I wanted to respond to tonight. Maybe because it struck a chord, or maybe because I thought it would help motivate others into sending me their own questions. When one of my friends saw what I had posted on my profile, she asked me why and then warned me that I was only inviting trouble. I’m not sure I could be ready for every question, but as I think about it I’m starting to wonder if this might be the solution I’ve sought for almost a decade.

There is so much that I want to say about my life and experiences, but up until now I’ve had a hard time capturing any of it in words. Now, I have a question which has asked about one aspect of my past. By doing so, its helped me focus on just that one aspect.

The question is:

who was the first girl you ever made out with?

A long time ago, before I was a father, a husband, or a graduate, I met a girl on the school bus who would forever change the course of my life. Her name was Merinda, and she was in the eighth grade. I, on the otherhand, was a Freshman in high school, although I never really saw the age difference as a problem. The fact that we went to two different schools (she was in the middle school, and I was in high school) did create an interesting challenge. We saw each other in the afternoon during the bus ride home and on the weekends, but seldomly during the school day.

My favorite thing was to go together on bike rides. Since neither of us could drive, the bike was a primary mode of travel when the circumstances were good, otherwise we were driven back and forth by parents. We also went out on dates to the movies, or we hung out at each others’ house. Merinda usually beat me at games of fuzeball or Mario Bros., depending on what we were playing that day. I would show the stories I wrote to Merinda, and she would read them. This meant a great deal to me.

We wrote and exchanged letters with each other during the week so we could stay in touch while we were at different schools. We’d write about our families or interesting things that happened to us during class. Between the notes, bus rides home from school, the time we spent together on the weekends, we quickly became best friends.

That fall I took Merinda to the Homecoming Dance. It was slightly against the rules for an eighth grader to attend a high school function, but we risked it anyways and somehow managed to pull it off. Mostly, I think that we were just lucky that Mrs. Faust, my ninth grade english teacher, was working the registration table that night.

Our friendship continued on the next school year. You’d think that things would have gotten better once we could see each other every day at school, but unfortunately it didn’t. At first, it was a good thing, but in a way it took away some of the charm of the relationship. Plus, I was having a very hard time with my classes that year. Merinda confronted me about not talking to her enough, but I was too moody to really talk about it. There was a point when I knew I needed to stop seeing her, but I didn’t have the guts to say anything about it. By my Sophomore year, so much of my life was focussed around my relationship with Merinda that I couldn’t stand to end it.

Where does kissing fit into the story? We did kiss after a long period of getting to know each other. Our first kiss was more about seeing what it was like than an expression of feelings. I can’t be sure, but we might have been influenced by the kids who teased us about never showing affection on the best. I do happen to have a transcript of our first kiss. Not the kiss itself, which would only have been captured in words such as “snook, snook, pucker, snoook,” (Or, perhaps “xoxoxxx”) but the dialogue which preceded the kiss.

You see, we were sitting together in front of my computer silently writing messages to each other when the subject of kissing came up (I can’t remember who mentioned it first, but I could find out) and eventually I asked her via the computer if I could kiss her. She replied that I could, and the rest is history. I’m not ashamed to say now that Merinda was the first girl that I kissed, although back then we tried to kiss when nobody else was watching. We’d go for walks passed the end of her road, for example, and then exchange a kiss. In the morning before band class started, we kissed in the instrument locker room. It was exhilarating to kiss her, and also rather salty.

As they say, too much of anything can be bad, and after a while we began kissing just for the sake of kissing. The kisses began to lose their charm much like the rest of our relationship. Combine that with the stresses of school and being a teenager, and it is easy to see why things happened the way that they did. At the time, though, I was devastated when Merinda broke up with me. I’m actually a little hazy about when she broke up with me, but I do remember seeing her walking with her new boy friend in the halls. There might actually have been a note involved, the day before we left for Toronto for a week long Band trip. Yes, Merinda and I were in band together, but during that week I felt the most alone and very jealous watching them doing everything together.

It hurt so bad that I felt like she had left me forever. What I didn’t understand–and what I wish I had realized back then–was that there was nothing wrong with becoming “just friends.” Looking back, maybe our relationship was meant to evolve to a point where we could be there for each other without being so inseperatable. My tragic mistake was not being a person who was big enough to look past the feelings of rejection and see the value of staying friends. Merinda wanted to be friends; she often gave me birthday or Christmas cards during those last two years that I was in high school. I felt so awkward I didn’t really know how to respond.

That summer of 1993 when I graduated from high school, I had the choice of inviting Merinda to my graduation open house, but still felt too awkward to do it. A couple of weeks later, Merinda died in a car crash.

I think it was inevitable for us to break up, but I often think about the time I wasted by not just talking to her and trying to remain friends. For me, an even bigger mystery is why she had to die instead of going on to be a math teacher like she wanted.

Thanks to Merinda, I gained a great deal more confidence in myself and learned that a relationship should be based on friendship first, and physical connections later. Of course, as a married adult now I know that its the friendship which sustains us. No relationship can be sustained by kisses alone, especially during cold season.

Posted via web from The Rambler

Daily EduTweet

November 21, 2009
  • 18:54 RT @web20classroom: A Door-To-Door Salesman just asked if I was the man of the house. I said you haven’t met my wife have you….. ^JAM #
  • 19:35 Army Corps of Engineers Faulted in Katrina Destruction – There can be something thrilling about accountability, so … #
  • 19:35 A New Indian Travel Fad: "Divorce Tourism" – A few Indian tour operators are cashing in on Indian’s rising divorce … #

Automatically shi[pped by LoudTwitter

Daily EduTweet

November 20, 2009
  • 19:37 "Nobu" Fever: Japan Falls for a Young Piano Prodigy – The latest cultural obsession in Japan is Nobuyuki Tsujii, a … #
  • 19:37 Hamid Karzai Sworn In for Second Term as Afghan President – The conclusion to Afghanistan’s extended election debac… #
  • 08:17 @mrhundermark You’re welcome. . . let me know if you have other questions. #
  • 08:24 @web20classroom Nng is a srvce where people cn strt their own social ntwrk. It includes mny of the same features fnd on other websites. #
  • 08:39 @johnmclear Can you share some examples? #

Automatically shi[pped by LoudTwitter

Daily EduTweet

November 19, 2009
  • 19:37 Germany: Blackface Filmmaker Wallraff Sparks Race Debate – Gunter Wallraff is known for his boundary-pushing invest… #
  • 19:37 As Electric Cars Arrive, Where Will They Plug In? – Electric cars will soon swarm onto America’s roads, but the cha… #

Automatically shi[pped by LoudTwitter

Daily EduTweet

November 18, 2009
  • 12:27 RT @Twitter_Tips: r/t How To: Be Active On Twitter Without Getting Burned Out! –Share: #
  • 12:48 @MyYoungChild You’re welcome. I’ll be sure to check out your website. ^JAM #
  • 19:38 Without Abbas, Would Palestinian Authority Survive? – The Palestinian Authority itself could collapse if its Presid… #
  • 19:38 The French Government’s Minority Problem – President Nicolas Sarkozy promised a more representative cabinet. But hi… #
  • 21:40 Watching "Slutty Halloween Girls To The Rescue" on Babelgum – #
  • 21:42 Watching "Landline TV: Carmakers Party With Bailout Money" on Babelgum – #
  • 21:47 @PoeticHeart34 RE: your quote about painting, I think that’s true for writing as well. It was certainly easier when I was younger. #
  • 21:53 RT @johnsonmaryj: Ask your students and let me know. Do they say "unfriend" or "defriend?" #
  • 21:58 Watching "New Twilight Movie Reveals Edward Has An STD" on Babelgum – #
  • 09:22 @aaallain Our ongoing daily strategy involves following up on twitter. This wk I will b looking into ways 2 increase our facebook fans #
  • 09:25 RT @successsecret: "I’ve lrnd tht ppl will 4get wht u said, ppl will 4get wht u did, bt pple will never forget hw u mde thm feel."M Angelou #

Automatically shi[pped by LoudTwitter

Daily EduTweet

November 17, 2009
  • 14:25 RT @allnick: New blog post: First Third-Party Facebook Ad Manager Launches Using Facebook Ads API ^JAM #
  • 14:29 RT @EducatorOnline: UND student takes learning on the road – Grand Forks Herald #
  • 14:45 RT @MaryAnnScheuer: RT @donalynbooks "After third grade, most of the words we learn– we acquire through reading." #
  • 14:51 RT @engadget: iPhone ‘home’ button earrings are for serious fangirls (and guys) only ^JAM #
  • 15:00 RT @ejulez: "Do things not because they make you look good, but do things because they are good". @spiffwhitfield Good point. ^JAM #
  • 19:35 Pimp My Bus Ride: Hip Intercity Motor Coaches – Goodbye, malodorous passengers. Hello, free wi-fi. The new, hip int… #
  • 19:35 Palin on Oprah: The Personal is Political – If you didn’t like Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign, she has a mess… #
  • 21:15 @NkHpTwihard that’s good to know #
  • 21:23 RT @educatedlife: One test does not fit all #education #Eduguide #
  • 21:27 RT @Shop_Rite: Facebook Automatically Displays Couple Photo when Its Members Get Engaged #
  • 21:29 RT @vqde1jz: How many weeks does my baby look like? And is she a girl or boy… #
  • 22:32 RT @Twitter_Tips: 4 Incredibly Simple Ways to Find Cool Twitter People: –Share: #Eduguide #
  • 22:34 RT @vqde1jz: When America went animal crackers | Insight on the News Newspaper… #
  • 22:36 RT @Twitter_Tips: TweetDeck is the second most popular way to Tweet: #
  • 22:38 RT @ADDhousewife: I want 2 teach classes/out reach 2 low income families 2 help them eat healthier, mke better food choices, stretch their $ #
  • 22:39 @ADDhousewife what help do you need with achieving your goals? #
  • 22:42 RT @Twitter_Tips: How Not To Be A Moron on Twitter –Share: #
  • 22:51 RT @briansolis: Reading "The Death of the URL" by @chrismessina #edustaff #
  • 05:50 RT @Twitter_Tips: r/t Voice-twitter: the next killer app? –Share: #
  • 05:51 RT @LansingNews: LCC trustees aim to restore Promise – Lansing State Journal: #education #
  • 05:53 RT @Twitter_Tips: r/t What The Trend? Find out WHY terms are trending on Twitter –Share: @edustaff #
  • 05:57 RT @Twitter_Tips: r/t Measure someone’s Twitter relevance, not just followers: –Share: @edustaff #

Automatically shi[pped by LoudTwitter

define the title you want

November 17, 2009

This is the TEST shipment you asked for

  • 00:39 I couldn’t find a tweet to post for loudtwitter #
  • 00:39 So I posted this. #

Automatically shi[pped by LoudTwitter

How can school administrators use Twitter to reach parents and the community?

November 14, 2009

I picked this up this week via my Twitter feed:

mrhundermark does anyone have any ideas about how administrators might use twitter to reach parents and community members?

I replied, but couldn’t begin to fit a full response within Twitter’s 140 character limit. But, I felt like Mr. Hundermark asked a really good question so I’m sharing my answer here.

The first thing you should do if you want to use Twitter to communicate with your audience is to start twittering. I know this sounds like overly simple, circular logic, but really it doesn’t get any more complex than that. A twitter account is free, and nobody has ever gotten in trouble for sending the wrong kind of tweet. Just jump in, get your feet wet, and learn by writing tweets and observing what other people are doing.

Next, you will want to grow your list of followers. This is pretty simple too. Start by following other twitterers in your field, and eventually as they begin to trust the information that you are twittering out they will return the favor. As you review your twitter stream, share information from people you follow by retweeting it to your followers. This will also help you attract followers to your twitter stream.

Okay, so now you have a twitter account and a few followers, but where do you go from here? Get into the habit of watching your twitterfeed, managing your list of followers, and retweeting information that you found helpful on a daily basis.

I know that Mr. Hundermark is already on Twitter, and suspect that he probably understands most of the basics of using Twitter. His questions actually has less to do with Twitter than it does with marketing and content strategy.

Ultimately, its about deciding what you should tweet, and what you shouldn’t.

The running joke about Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites is that there doesn’t seem to be a limit to what people will write about. And, while you could write about just about anything you wanted to on Twitter, its important to stay focussed on a set range of topics. Sit down and write a list of all of the topics you want your twitterfeed to cover, and then try to eliminate the ones that are the least valuable to your audience.

Most organizations or businesses already have content in the form of newsletters or a website which they can refer people to in their twitterfeed. Does this mean that every piece of information that’s printed in your newsletter needs to be repeated in your feed? Not necessarily. Upload your newsletter to the web and then send a link to it in a tweet, direct your followers to an update on your website, or tease a new product.

“Convergence” and “community” are key words these days when it comes to communication over the web. This means that its important to always look for ways to repurpose your content for the multiple channels that are available to an organization. You probably want to claim credit for the information that you provide by sharing it only over your own twitterfeed, but a better way is to think of yourself as a contributer to a much larger online community. This can be done in Twitter by using hashtags which allows your tweets to be picked up in multiple searches.

Think about how each message relates to your audience, and then include hashtags so it will be found by the right people. For example, say that your school is holding a bake sale. You might write the following:

Bake Sale at Springfield Elementary. 9a-10a Sat.

You could easily make this tweet more visible by including hashtags. Ask yourself who would benefit the most from the announcement? Who would be the most interested? Remember that the purpose of your Tweete should be twofold: Attract people to your event (of course), but also to get the word out to your followers so they can retweet your message to their audience. If the information is interesting enough, and they support your organization, chances are that they will share your message with their followers. Before you know it, your cake sale announcement could reach thousands of people.

So, let’s try to improve the reach of the same tweet:

Bake Sale at Springfield Elementary. 9a-10a Sat. #springfield #schools #fundraisers

I’ve added hashtags which should associate the message with the keywords that people most likely would search for. “Springfield” seemed like a good choice, since its probably the name of the community or town the school serves, “schools” in case someone is searching for school information, and “fundraisers” so the event would show up in a search for fundraisers. “Event” might also be another commonly used keyword phrase. The best thing we can do is try different hashtags until we find out which ones work the best.

Mr. Hundermark’s biggest challenge will be reaching the biggest percentage of his audience. Twitter helps him do that, but no matter how big or popular it gets there will never be a guarantee that every parent and community member in his school distrct will get a Twitter account. This is why it is better to think of Twitter as being one piece of a much larger web marketing strategy involving several different social media sites. Fortunately, it has gotten easier to spread your messages over multiple networks, so it is up to the individual to make best use of their resources.

So, while the answer to Mr. Hundermark’s question is long, it is actually pretty simple. Send tweets, grow followers, support the people you follow, and use hashtags to improve the visibility of your messages. And, cross-post your announcement to other social media services so you can reach as many people as possible.

Posted via web from Honked

Twitter Replay – November 11, 2009

November 12, 2009


A summary of today’s of the day’s best tweets by topic.

Do you have a list of favorite tweets that you’d like to share? Contact Jon Morgan at

November 11, 2009


  • EduGuide: RT @educatedlife: in defense of lecturing in the social studies classroom #education
  • EduGuide: RT @collegeprowler: RT @YOUniversityTV College admission tougher for girls than boys?
  • EduGuide: @MyYoungChild It was our pleasure! When you get a moment, check out our website at
  • EduGuide: @CharlieGrounds You’re welcome, and you too!
  • EduGuide: RT @AAEteachers: “Education is not filling a pail, but the lighting of a fire” William Butler Yeats | #education #inspiration #quotes
  • EduGuide: RT @alfredtwo: Wait while I look that up on the Internet:
  • EduGuide: RT @teachermagazine: Web Connects K-12 Students With Scientists:
  • EduGuide: RT @successsecret: Blog Post: Problems Can b Opps in Disguise-
  • EduGuide: RT @College_Success: November is National Scholarship Month… RT @campuscompare:
  • EduGuide: RT @College_Success: RT @educationweek Measuring College Engagement, Achievement
  • EduGuide: RT @mommyperks: 14 educational games for kids:
  • EduGuide: RT @educatedlife: Digitally Revamped Library Eschews Books, Stacks #education
  • EduGuide: RT @ResourcefulMom: Just 15 minutes to go until our Twitter event for National Adoption Month. Join us at  —-> #adoptuskids
  • EduGuide: Voices of Michigan Education radio show to examine parent-teacher communications tonight at 7 p.m. on #WJR 760. #mea
  • EduGuide: RT @edutopia: RT @EdutopiaBetty: Should #specialed students part. in stand. testing? If not, what can we do abt it?
  • EduGuide: RT @dcmp_tweets: RT @TechnologyInEd: RT @FNDFLTILES: Disneyland Introduces new Audio Description Service
  • EduGuide: RT @tdisanza: FYI: Blackboard Adds BlackBerry App for Mobile Web Platform
  • EduGuide: RT @kalinagoenglish: RT @EnglishProfi: Using Blogs and Wikis in the Classroom gr8 read RT @abfromz via @tombarrett
  • EduGuide: RT @joebjr: RT: @wuInstMedia Twitter and Penguins: How The San Francisco Zoo Uses Twitter
  • EduGuide: RT @gnaeyaert: Rhee: We need to educate & empower parents with the data we have, & how schools are performing, & that will lead to reform!!


Posted via web from Life Cycle

Happy Birthday, Josh!

November 12, 2009

We celebrated Josh’s 7th birthday tonight by eating dinner at McDonald’s with our friends the Hollidays. This was our way of honoring his actual birthday, but already threw a party for relatives on Sunday, and on Saturday we’re having a few of his friends over for another party.

See photos Josh’s party on Sunday at


Posted via web from Life Cycle